Written and directed by Beth LaMure, Daisy Winters is adorable, despite its poor plotting and sometimes wooden writing. Even though there are a lot of issues, the cuteness factor makes up for them enough that it can still be a fun experience. (GPG: 2.5/5)
Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto
“Daisy” (Sterling Jerins) is a precocious 12-year-old girl living with her mom, “Sandy,” (Brooke Shields) who has terminal cancer. She’s never known her dad, so when her mother dies, it’s been arranged that she will go live with her aunt, “Margaret” (Carrie Preston). We meet Margaret at the beginning of the movie; she’s religious and constantly critical, plus she hits her own children. So it’s safe to say we as an audience agree with Daisy that living with Aunt Margaret would be the worst possible fate.
When her neighbor commits suicide, Daisy drags her friend “Jackson” (Nick Gore) into his house to poke around, and it gives her an idea about how to escape Aunt Margaret’s clutches. We don’t know what the plan is, but as Daisy prepares for her plan, we see that it will apparently involve rope, a pulley system, and a blow-up sex doll. During these preparations, life goes on, and we see Daisy’s loving relationship with her mom over the course of a year. We also are introduced to “Doug” (Iwan Rheon), Daisy’s kindly reclusive neighbor, who is played by Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones. That part of the movie is really weird.
At bottom, this is a movie about all the people in Daisy’s life—her mom, her neighbors, and her budding crush on classmate “Josh” (Kyle Red Silverstein), who might be connected to her father. The movie’s best moments are when the cancer and escape-plan storylines take a back seat to Daisy’s everyday life, which is filled with cute and quirky moments, and lets Daisy’s brave, spunky character shine.
In criticism, however: while I wouldn’t want to knock a film for having a low budget, I should mention that Daisy Winters often looks like an ABC family drama, with its cheap shooting style and poor coloring job. Also like on ABC family, the performances are often uneven—though in general, “heartwarming” is a fair description. The last twenty minutes of the movie are especially off the rails where the story is concerned, as several shaky plot elements combine into one completely unbelievable ending (which is also a cop-out that messes up the whole arc of the movie).
In general, this movie isn’t very well made. But I don’t feel like I wasted my time on it, because it was cute enough that just one viewing passed my personal cost-benefit analysis for such things. It probably wouldn’t stand up to a rewatch, however, and if you don’t have a soft spot for precocious kids you should look elsewhere.
Q: Does Daisy Winters pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?
Yes! There are tons of female characters that talk to each other, and the central relationship between Daisy and her mom includes tons of Bechdel-Wallace-passing scenes.